Jones begins his defense in murder trial

By Jason A. Smith


Defense witnesses are scheduled to begin taking the stand today in the murder trial of a Stockbridge man accused of killing his wife.

The prosecution rested Monday in its case against Changa Ola Jones, Sr. Jones, 38, is charged with murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Natasha Monique Brown Jones, 31.

When the state rested its case, defense attorney Michelle Clark tried to convince Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero to grant a directed verdict of acquittal. She said the prosecution had failed to present any eyewitnesses, or other physical evidence, to show that Jones, a shipyard worker, killed his wife, a Creekside High School teacher.

"All of the evidence is circumstantial at best," said Clark. "There's no physical connection between Mr. Jones and this crime."

The judge denied the motion. Clark is scheduled to call her first witness today.

Police said the young mother was strangled to death, and found in the bedroom of her Stockbridge home by police Oct. 24, 2005.

Changa Jones has had two mistrials in the case, and, until late Friday, was representing himself in court in the current trial.

In the week-old trial, earlier testimony focused on the weekend prior to Natasha Jones' death. The prosecution centered its ending testimony on events related to the aggravated-assault charge against Jones.

According to a September 2005 Henry County 911 tape, which was played in court for the jury, Natasha Jones accused her husband of throwing a cement block through the windshield of her Lexus sport-utility vehicle. At the time of his wife's death, police said there was a warrant pending for Changa Jones' arrest in connection with that incident.

Henry Police Officer Pamela Pressly testified that she saw the damaged vehicle and a "very scared" victim (referring to Natasha Jones). "The window had been busted out, and also the hood of the Lexus had damage to it," said Pressly.

Assistant District Attorney Sandi Rivers showed a picture of the damaged car, with a cement block sitting on its hood. The officer said Natasha Jones had no visible injuries after the incident, and that no witnesses saw who threw the cement block.

Pressly told Clark the victim attempted to have the assault charge dropped against her husband. She said the couple had reconciled. The officer said she told Natasha Jones the charge would have to be dropped by a judge, and that a warrant was still active for his arrest.